School of Physics Lecture Demonstration Manual

Md-2 Wilburforce Pendulum Demonstration

Published: Thursday 09 March 2006 - Updated: Thursday 24 March 2011

Aim

To demonstrate coupled translational - rotational oscillations.

Apparatus

Diagrams

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Wilburforce Pendulum

Videos

Wilburforce Pendulum

Description

A helical spring has a "bob" with an adjustable moment of inertia. This has been chosen such that the period of rotation is equal to the S.H.M. period of the simple pendulum. On displacing the bob vertically the device starts like a simple mass on a spring, but the torsional motion increases with each oscillation until the motion is purely rotational. The device then cycles between the two modes of operation.

Safety notes

Maintenance 

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